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Living Witness:
Historic Trees of Texas

Texas’ trees have always been respected for the comfort they provide. Native Americans used them as landmarks, meeting places, and protection from harsh weather. The Spanish, French, and Mexicans established settlements among them, using their wood for missions and forts. Later, their wide boughs supported the homes and marked the homesteads of Anglo settlers. During conflicts settlers used them as mustering places, scouting nests, and, in one fateful case, a sniper’s perch. In peacetime, churches and courts held services and convened sessions beneath them, and their accommodating limbs were often the site of frontier justice.

Five hundred years later, after Europeans first arrived in the Americas, some of these trees that were seedlings or saplings then remain among us as silent witnesses to or participants in history. For the last four years, I have been traversing Texas, capturing these historic trees with vintage cameras. My goal is to help preserve the amazing stories of these trees and the people connected with them. The result is a book, "Living Witness: Historic Trees of Texas" and this companion iPhone app. Both feature a collection of dozens of the most historic trees and their stories. The app includes a map and driving directions to each tree and the ability to submit your own favorite tree.

The book, "Living Witness: Historic Trees of Texas,” will be published by Texas A&M University Press in spring, of 2012, and is dedicated to the people of Texas.

To learn more, go to